Monday, August 3, 2015

Why I like the Fuji X100T for still life photography

During a recent still life shoot in my studio I was frustrated because I was not capturing the look I wanted for the subjects. The subject matter and setup was quite basic on purpose.  I was trying to achieve something soft, simple, and dreamlike, but kept ending up with something flat and blah. My usual still life equipment includes a high res camera, like the Nikon D810, and an assortment of macro lenses. Problem was the high res camera and sharp lenses were delivering images with too much detail, ruining the dreamlike quality I was after.

I often carry my Fuji X100T with me wherever I go, and I had it with me this day. Just to shake things up, I began to use the X100T on the still life subjects, and all of a sudden the images came to life. One thing I love about the X100T is that it can come in really close -- not macro, but close enough for a lens of that type. When used at its maximum aperture of f/2  it gives the close-up images a soft quality, a slight halo around the subjects. This was perfect for the quality I was after.

Because the 23mm lens (equivalent to 35mm in full frame) is a moderate wide angle focal length, it delivers a rounding to the subject when used in tight, plus the out-of-focus areas, although soft, still maintain more detail than would a longer focal length lens. All in all, it's a very different look than what a longer macro lens achieves, and in this case it was working for me.

Below are a few of the images I did with the X100T.

One nice thing about Fuji X cameras is the ease with which they can shoot double-exposed images. The shot above of geometric patterns printed on an old textured sheet and super-imposed over a nautilus shell was done in camera. The way it is handled in the viewfinder makes it very easy to see the results of placing the second images over the first. One drawback to this double exposure mode is that it only delivers a jpg image. This can limit the amount of retouching that can be done later in Photoshop. For this image all I did was add a curves layer to boost the contrast of the image. 

This double exposure was done afterwards in Photoshop by combining two images, one in a layer over the other.  The look is very different to the double exposure taken in camera. Although taken with the Fuji X100T, this is something that could just as easily been done with my regular still life camera because here I am not exploiting the specific characteristics of the X100T and its lens. 

I wanted to keep all the floral images very soft and delicate while retaining some story-telling detail in the out-of-focus areas. The subjects were back lit against a window and over-exposed for the foreground. 

1 comment :

  1. Although I don't own an X-100T, I have an X-T1 with the wonderful 23mm f1.4 lens. It too, focuses very close, (not macro), and I too, love the look. Excellent observation, and post.